Boxwood Blight Has Been Reported in Metro Atlanta

There is a very serious outbreak of boxwood blight in the metro Atlanta landscaping industry. We realize that the average homeowner may not know what boxwood blight is or why it is extremely important to keep it from your lawn, so we are going to give an overview of the fungus and tell you how to prevent a manifestation in your lawn.

What is Boxwood Blight

box blightBoxwood blight is a fungus, and easily spread from one plant to another. The spores are very sticky and can attach to gardening tools, shoes, clothing or anything it comes in contact with, making it easy to transport from one landscape to another. As the name suggests, boxwood blight targets boxwood hedges (see all of the brown leaves in this infected boxwood). Some of the most vulnerable are the dwarf English and the common boxwood. While other species of boxwoods seem less susceptible, none of the commercial boxwood cultivars are immune to this disease. In fact, the ones less susceptible to fungus may not produce any severe symptoms, but can act as a carrier and introduce the disease to other plants.

Box Blight Symptoms

As you now know what box blight is and what it targets, you know which plants to keep a close eye on. Pay close attention to leaves and look for tan leaf spots with a dark purple or brown border. Look at the stems, and if you notice black stem lesions or blackening of the stems in general, the plant is likely infected. Infected leaves become tan and readily drop from the plant leaving bare stems. These fallen leaves can continue to spread the disease by infecting the soil and/or being transported by water, animals and wind to infect other plants; so, it is very important to contain them. Eventually, sections or the whole plant will turn tan and die.

Managing Box Blight

Unfortunately, there is no management. Box blight cannot be cured by a fungicide. If you discover the symptoms of box blight, the best form of action is to call a professional landscaping company to have them safely remove the infected plant, and hopefully prevent it from spreading to others. As with most landscaping infestations, prevention is best. If you are introducing new plants to your landscape, make sure it is from a safe and reliable nursery. Ask the staff working if they can guarantee the plants have not been infected.

The bottom line is that box blight is a highly contagious disease that can devastate a landscape. We know that parts of metro Atlanta have reported the fungus, which means it is likely in other parts of as well. Be on the lookout, and if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Image via Ga Urban Ag Council